Diana’s I Do’s: You’re Invited

Calligraphy? Paper type? How to save the most on postage? Diana’s got all the stationery-related tips you could ever dream of.

Diana and stacks and stacks of her invites.

Six months before the wedding, it was time to start thinking about stationery. This is usually the point where the groom’s eyes start to glaze over and he tells you to just take care of it because he doesn’t really get jazzed about comparing paper and color samples. To him, eggshell and cream are just things he might find in the kitchen. So my mom and I were on the hunt for invitations and programs.

Ben and I designed the save-the-dates ourselves. Ben is pretty crafty with graphic design and created a magnet save-the-date that I printed through an online company called Print Pelican. I found that using a generic print company instead of a niche wedding company is a lot more economical, and you can get a more personalized finished product. Our magnets cost 97 cents each and looked fantastic.

My first (and luckily, only) stop for invitations was with Natasha Bedi, a woman I met at the Bridal Expo. Her company is called My Imagination Creations. My mom and I visited her home studio and looked at different samples. One thing that drew me to Natasha was her unique and exotic designs. She works with a specialist in India to produce the invitations, so you get one-of-a-kind pieces at a reasonable price.

Our favorite sample was called the “modern scroll.” This is almost a Jacob’s-ladder design with a front and back panel. The front panel is opened horizontally and has the formal invitation printed on it, while the back panel opens vertically and gives guests the wedding itinerary and travel information. This was so handy because unlike many invitations, there aren’t several small inserts that can get lost. We decided to go for this option and chose an elegant pattern in claret and gold for the exterior and a subtle cream-on-cream pattern for the inside.

Next was the program. Because the wedding is in mid-August, I suggested we do a fan program so the guests can use them to keep cool during the ceremony. I explained to Natasha that I wanted a fold-out fan instead of one panel, and she worked with me to design it so it would match the invitations.

Writing the content was the most difficult because you have to plan your ceremony first. Ben and I went through the planning packet Father Deifel gave us showing examples of types of services (religious, New Age, family-oriented), and we created a ceremony that reflected our personalities but maintained the solemnity of the occasion. For some reason, I always assumed the priest would just read a standard ceremony, but I loved the fact that Ben and I could weave together the words that would begin our married life. To me, this was one of the most incredibly sentimental moments of my wedding planning and something I’ll never forget.

Once our ceremony choices were approved by Father Deifel, I used the content to construct the program and list readings and unity-candle ceremonies and sent it to Natasha. Then we e-mailed back and forth with mock-ups and corrections until finally the order was placed for the official samples. I was so excited about how beautifully they turned out and was pumped to approve the sample and place the final order.

When the boxes of invitations and programs arrived, Ben was blown away. The invitations were informative but elegant, and the programs were sturdy (especially important for fans).

Next, it was time to address the pile of 130 invitations and send them out. My mom and I decided against a calligrapher and purchased calligraphy pens to address them ourselves. Let me just say that I have a whole new respect for calligraphers! It’s really difficult to have everything stay on one straight line and look nice. I’m afraid my first attempts looked as if they’d been written by a kindergartner on a sugar high. Thank goodness I ordered extra envelopes.

We started addressing the invitations at about 8 PM, and I hit my stride around 9. By 11, the writing started going downhill, and at 2 AM, both mom’s and my hands were cramped and the addresses started to look a little strained. We consoled ourselves by rationalizing that people probably wouldn’t notice. I mean, how long do you really look at the envelope before tossing it anyway?

The next morning, I went to the post office with one invitation to get it weighed. I highly recommend going in person and not just guessing on postage because if the invitations are returned, you’re paying double. After an invitation-stuffing assembly line with my mom, Kerri, and me, Ben and I dropped them off at the post office. The feedback from our guests on the invitations was amazing. Everyone said they were the best invitations they’d ever seen, and my boss even asked me for Natasha’s contact info so he could recommend her to his friends.

The only snag I’ve run into is with the RSVPs. I enclosed response cards along with our wedding Web site so people have two options for responding. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to matter: Our deadline for RSVPing is today, and we’re still missing a third of the cards. I’ve noticed that it’s mostly the younger folks who take the longest to respond, which I thought was interesting. The plan now is to give it a couple of days and then start calling so I can get my entrée numbers and seating chart to Antrim on time. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Read Diana's story from the beginning, here

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